by K. Ray
A short story about a strange law in Missouri
|Strange Missouri Laws
Outside of Reginald's Bar there is a parking lot that on most days is filled with drunken bar patrons. The noise inside the bar gets overwhelming and people can been seen outside talking on the phone, taking a smoke break, or just chatting together in the silence of the night. I was having a cigarette myself when I noticed a man fiddling with one of the cars. He wasn't even trying not to look suspicious. He grabbed at the front driver door handle of a Dodge Durango and, finding it locked, moved counter-clockwise around the vehicle to try every other door. Then he moved on to the next vehicle, a Chevy Cavalier. That was my car. I put out my cigarette on the wall and ran to confront the would-be car thief.
"Get away from there!" I exclaimed.
The man startled, turned. He was as quick with words as he was with his hands: "I locked my keys in my car is all. I need a hanger."
"And the Durango?"
At that, he started to run. I could have let him go, but my adrenaline was pumping and I dashed after him without a second thought. He didn't get far before I was right at his heels. He turned suddenly on those heels and ran right past me, heading back to the bar. I skidded to a stop and changed course to follow.
"Get away from me!" He yelled.
"You were breaking into my car!" I yelled back.
The man was slowing down. He reached the same group of cars where we started and jumped onto the hood of my car, then climbed to the roof. I think he was afraid of what I would do when I caught him. What would I do when I caught up to him? Have him arrested? On what charge? I might not have been the only witness, but I was betting I was the only sober one and it would be my word against his. I could punch his face in, but then I'd be arrested and I didn't need that. These thoughts ran through my head as I caught up.
We stood there, yelling at each other, for God-knows how long before the police showed up. Two officers got out of the police car and I explained what happened while one took notes. The man, still on the roof of my car, said, "I don't know what this guy's smoking, but I didn't do anything." He smiled smugly at me before the officers turned his direction.
"You tried to steal my car." I interjected.
"He just freaked out and started running at me. He's a big guy, so I ran away. I'm not ashamed of that. But I didn't steal any car."
"Sir," the officer taking notes said to me, "Did you give this man permission to be on the roof of your car?"
"No," I said, slightly confused at the change of topic.
Turning to the man on my car, he said, "You're under arrest."
"For what? I didn't do anything wrong."
"Sir," the officer said to me, "do I have your permission to climb on your vehicle and apprehend this man?"
"Yes," I said.
The man was placed under arrest for violating a law I didn't realize existed. Missouri law code 10.32.100 "Climbing into another’s vehicle, sounding horn, etc. prohibited without permission. No person shall, without the permission of the owner or person in charge thereof, climb upon or into, or swing upon any motor vehicle or trailer, whether the same is in motion or at rest..." He would probably not serve any time in jail, but I was satisfied that the smug look on his face was gone.